Journal Article

Challenges accessing legal abortion after rape in Mexico City

Although highly legally restricted, abortion is legal in cases of rape throughout Mexico. This study describes women’s and physicians’ experiences obtaining/providing legal abortion services in cases of rape in Mexico City.

We interviewed five women who experienced a pregnancy as a result of rape. Physicians and organizations that provide services to rape survivors recruited the women. We also interviewed seven physicians who provide legal abortion services. We used the qualitative analysis software Ethnograph to analyze interview transcripts.

Women and physicians agreed that the process to obtain legal authorization for an abortion is time-consuming and bureaucratic. There is a lack of information about places and procedures to report the rape and to obtain a legal abortion. A majority of the women experienced a denial process of the rape that contributed to their delayed access to abortion services, exacerbated by the cumbersome legal process.

In Mexico City, physicians and rape survivors face structural barriers and personal barriers to providing or obtaining legal abortion.